diagnosed with parkinson's

7 Steps To Take When Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease

7 Steps To Take When Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease

Receiving a medical diagnosis and learning you have Parkinson’s disease can be difficult and emotionally distressing. Learning you have a disease—any disease—is scary, but there’s a lot you can do to take control of your journey with Parkinson’s disease.

Navigating Life After Being Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

Whether you’re the person newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or a concerned family member and caregiver, here are seven crucial steps you can rely on to help you navigate this challenging time with strength, courage, and resilience.

  1. Educate Your Family: From parkinsonism to bradykinesia, there’s going to be a learning curve for those newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Patient or caregiver, it helps to arm yourself with knowledge about this chronic illness. Dive into the vast library of resources on the Internet to familiarize yourself with its symptoms, disease progression, treatment options, and various ways to cope with Parkinson’s disease. Education is key to managing life after such a diagnosis.The American Parkinson Disease Association offers dozens of videos on this resource page that you can use to educate yourself about Parkinson’s Disease.
  1. Engage Specialists: Consider seeking specialty care from a neurologist specializing in movement disorders. Specialists are most likely to have experience that can lend insights into your care and suggest customized treatment options, including medications for motor symptoms like tremors and stiffness. According to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, seeing a movement disorder specialist early on can help you learn about available clinical trials while preparing you for future changes.This handy tool courtesy of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society can help you find a movement disorder specialist near you.
  1. Develop a Care Plan: Both medical and surgical treatment options exist for those living with a neurological disorder like Parkinson’s disease. Treatment generally consists of medication, lifestyle modifications such as diet and nutrition, and physical therapy. Discuss your treatment options with your physician and ask about the various therapies that can help manage your symptoms, including nontraditional therapies such as yoga, massage, and supplements.

    Print out these 7 important questions to ask your doctor about Parkinson’s before your next visit.

  1. Connect with Support Networks: There are more than one million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease, so remember, you are not alone! Social isolation can have negative effects on your health while connecting with others who are navigating similar challenges can be both helpful and uplifting. Lean into support groups (both in person and online) to build an emotional support system and gain practical advice based on their experiences.Associations such as Parkinson’s Foundation, the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) , and Parkinson Association of Central Florida exist to help those with Parkinson’s disease access resources, find support, and continue living their best possible life.

    You won’t have to go far to find support. Use this handy tool to find Parkinson’s disease support groups in Florida.

  1. Plan For The Future: Parkinson’s disease is progressive, which means symptoms may worsen over time. As symptoms become more severe, it may become necessary to make changes in the home to ensure safety and accessibility. Living conditions, financial arrangements, and healthcare directives should all be part of your plan for the future.Experts recommend devising a financial plan early to allow adequate time to assess your options and prepare for the care you’ll need to manage more challenging symptoms down the road.
  1. Protect Your Mental Health: Due to changes in the brain chemistry, it’s not uncommon for people with Parkinson’s to suffer from Parkinson’s-related depression or anxiety. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin—all the chemicals that help regulate mood—are impacted by Parkinson’s. In fact, research has shown around 50% of all people with Parkinson’s will experience depression.If you are newly diagnosed with the disease, seek the help of mental health professionals early to devise strategies to cope with the ups and downs and manage your emotional health throughout the disease progression.
  1. Arrange For Future Care: When complexities of caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease becomes more than you and your loved ones can handle alone, an assisted living community can offer 24-hour supervision and personal care support. The caregivers in long-term care and senior living communities are specially trained to provide support to older adults who need assistance with daily tasks such as cooking, bathing, and dressing. Unlike family members who may have other responsibilities with children and work, a professional caregiver’s sole purpose is to provide support when it’s needed, offering more peace of mind to families.

    Learn how assisted living communities provide essential support and care to those living with Parkinson’s disease.

In some assisted living communities, senior living caregivers are specially trained to manage the advanced stages of Parkinson’s. They undergo advanced training in modern care techniques, medication management, and safety regulations. As you plan for the future, be sure to contact local senior care communities and ask directed questions about safety and security, technology, costs and other important factors related to your care.

When the time comes for additional support, a transition to an assisted living community will ensure you or your loved one will thrive within a network of comprehensive care and support. A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis might be challenging, but with the right support, you’ll never need to face the journey alone.

To learn more about assisted living at Sonata, schedule a visit to a community near you.

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Visit a Sonata community and find out why putting service first has allowed us to continually raise the bar in senior living and exceed our residents’ expectations.

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reducing stress in seniors

The Secret To Reducing Stress in Seniors

The Secret To Reducing Stress in Seniors

Hiding behind the most common chronic disease and health conditions in seniors is, you guessed it: stress! Known as the “unseen enemy,” chronic stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a weakened immune system, making seniors more susceptible to illness.

There’s no better time to shine a light on the chronic stress epidemic in America than during National Stress Awareness Month in April. A growing concern that impacts every age group, stress presents an especially heavy burden on the well-being of older adults who may already be facing a decline in cognitive and physical health.

The Senior Living Solution To Reducing Stress in Seniors

Older adults living in service-enriched senior living communities believe the secret to alleviating stress-related health issues lies in choosing the right living environment! That’s because senior living has the transformative power to reduce or even prevent stress in older adults by removing many of the common stressors that seniors face.

For example, many older adults live alone, making it difficult to have a social life. Worries about home maintenance and repairs also heighten stress in seniors living alone.

In contrast, senior living communities like Sonata offer a worry-free lifestyle and a means to stay connected to peers. Life enrichment programs, wellness services, and amenities are all carefully curated to reduce stressors and boost senior health and wellness.

Learn how friendships improve health and reduce stress in senior living communities.

Bid Farewell To Home Maintenance Worries

Home maintenance can be a significant source of stress for seniors. The constant worry about upkeep from landscaping to roof repairs, cleaning, and more, is an enormous source of stress for seniors!

Senior living communities are designed for maintenance-free living, thereby eliminating the responsibility of home upkeep and the stress that comes with it. At Sonata, these responsibilities become the full-time job of the maintenance staff and housekeeping services so you can focus on doing more important things and activities that reduce stress!

Long-Term Care At Your Fingertips

The nagging stress about arranging long-term care for the future significantly diminishes when moving to a senior living community. Senior living communities provide a range of services from medication management to assistance with daily living activities. Their primary goal is to ensure seniors truly enjoy their retirement years without the constant worry about their health and care needs.

In senior living, on-site health care, including assisted living and memory care, bring essential health care services to you, removing the need for families and adult children to coordinate doctor’s visits and therapy appointments. Seniors and their families love the convenience and privacy of having health care delivered directly to their loved one because it reduces stress for everyone!

Learn 5 ways senior living supports healthy aging and longevity.

Socialization, Activities, and Healthy Eating in Senior Living

Loneliness is a dangerous stressor for older adults. Senior living communities overcome this issue by providing numerous outlets for social interaction—from daily activities to fitness classes, on-site wellness services, special events, outings and more. Actively engaging in daily activities not only reduces feelings of isolation but also stimulates cognitive function and physical health, further reducing stress.

Did you know scientists have found a link between socialization and your health? According to research, forming social connections can lengthen your life by reducing harmful levels of stress.

Socializing with friends in a senior living community can add years to your life and ward off chronic health issues such as dementia, loneliness and depression.  Moreover, dining services in senior care communities specialize in the planning and preparation of nutritious, balanced meals. A proper diet designed for senior nutrition acts as a natural defense against stress. Effortlessly having healthier food options readily available can also relieve anxiety about meal preparation.

A Model For Stress-Free Living

Stress management improves quality of life and promotes healthy aging and longevity—two goals shared by many older adults. Even reducing stress a little can boost emotional well-being, support immune function, and enhance cognitive health, all of which are tenets of healthy aging.

Life enrichment, whether through activities or personal pursuits, is directly related to emotional well-being. At Sonata senior living communities, each day presents infinite opportunities and ways to enrich life while freeing you from home maintenance worries and cares.

While nothing cannot completely erase stressors in life, evading them becomes far easier within the supportive environment of an assisted living community. As we observe National Stress Awareness Month, imagine yourself living a stress-free lifestyle at a Sonata senior living community. A move to senior living may just be the secret to a longer, healthier life.

Schedule a visit to Sonata to learn more about maintenance-free senior living in an independent living or assisted living community.

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Visit a Sonata community and find out why putting service first has allowed us to continually raise the bar in senior living and exceed our residents’ expectations.

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Nourishment For Your Mind

Dining at Sonata: Nourishment For Your Mind, Body and Social Needs

Dining at Sonata: Nourishment For Your Mind, Body and Social Needs

When it comes to choosing a senior living community, the quality of the dining program and the taste of the food is among the top three considerations on nearly everyone’s list next to quality of care and affordability. In fact, some would argue, it’s the most important aspect of senior living altogether! It’s one reason why Florida’s senior living communities allocate substantial time and resources to curate, prepare, and serve menus that their residents will love. The goal, of course, is to create a dining experience that brings together an assortment of culinary choices, nutrition essentials, and personalized service all geared toward healthy aging.

The Connection Between Senior Living and Nutrition

At Sonata’s senior living communities in Florida, a significant amount of planning and creativity goes into the development of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Every month, the menus are refreshed by Sonata’s dining services, ensuring the dining experience is always exciting and new.

But the efforts of Sonata to fulfill its promise to residents for exceptional retirement living extend far beyond delicious culinary experiences. Senior health and wellness are at the heart of meal planning. Research shows that a well-balanced diet is a key ingredient to maintaining good health as we age, and that’s precisely what Sonata delivers in its dining services program.

As we age, nutritional needs evolve, and access to whole foods become increasingly important to health. At Sonata, emphasis is placed on incorporating seasonal, locally sourced fruit and vegetables, ensuring the freshest ingredients are used to enhance flavor and nutrition. Every bite served to residents is thoughtfully crafted, striking a perfect balance between fulfilling seniors’ nutritional needs while satisfying the most discerning palates.

Dining Experiences That Nourish Mind, Body and Social Wellness

According to Joe Geiser, Vice President of Food and Beverage at Sonata by AgeWell Solvere Living, every menu item at a Sonata community is carefully planned, following the latest recommended nutritional guidelines for seniors to support health and vitality.

“We believe that dining is more than just a meal. It’s an experience that nurtures both mind and body. We are passionate about creating dishes that not only taste amazing, but also support the nutritional needs of our residents,” said Geiser.

A typical menu at Sonata bursts with a rainbow of food – colorful vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and whole grains. Not only does it appeal visually, but it also delivers a broad spectrum of vital nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to enhance health and wellness.

Sonata’s independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities leave no stone unturned in their commitment to helping older adults thrive. This includes a focus on fundamentals such as a well-balanced diet.

“At Sonata, you’ll find a diverse range of colorful meals that come together to form a nutrient-rich rainbow on the plate. It’s the combination of nutrition and flavor that enhances the overall health and well-being of our residents,” said Geiser.

As we age, maintaining a healthy diet and nutrition can be challenging. Senior Living makes it so much easier to meet the daily nutritional requirements for older adults! Plus, it’s more fun when you can share a good meal with friends!

An equally important function of the dining experience in a senior living community is social wellness. Dining isn’t simply a necessary activity; it’s a catalyst for camaraderie and connection. Communal dining in senior living provides opportunities for residents to enjoy companionship, fostering a strong sense of community. By making the dining experience a social event, Sonata promotes interaction between residents, which is integral to holistic health and wellness.

“There’s something incredibly special about sharing a meal together,” said Geiser. “Dining experiences at Sonata nourish the body while also nurturing social connections to reinforce the feeling of community and belonging.”

The Dementia Diet and Vital Nutrients

When we’re young, most of us can eat what we want. As we age, changes in the body impact not only how much we eat, but how we process essential nutrients. While we can’t prevent aging, we can thwart some of the unwanted side effects that come from aging by improving diet and nutrition. Due to changes in cellular activity, older adults may have more difficultly absorbing nutrients, leading to nutritional deficiencies. People with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia also struggle to get a sufficient amount of nutrients in their diet, leading to unwanted weight loss.

If you are a caregiver, you already know how challenging it is to maintain health and nutrition in those with memory impairment. At Serenades Memory Care, a special dementia diet incorporates nutritionally dense options and creative finger foods to encourage frequent eating throughout the day and minimize the nutritional challenges posed by dementia. Learn about the connection between diet and dementia in women and how Serenades Memory Care For Her caters to women’s unique needs through programming and meal planning.

Dining Services at Sonata

Older adults are at higher risk of developing chronic disease due to poor diet and nutrition. When it comes to eating for healthy aging, senior living may be the solution! Sonata seamlessly blends a five-star dining experience with AgeWell Solvere’s signature dishes and modern concepts associated with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diets. Senior superfoods and other nutrient-rich foods that promote cardiovascular and brain health are frequently found on our menus. Still, dietary restrictions vary among residents, so Sonata’s executive chefs include choices for those with special dietary needs, including low-calorie, sugar-free, low-fat, vegetarian, and low-sodium options.

“Nutritional considerations are not an afterthought but the main driving force behind menu creation at Sonata. We combine nutritional guidelines for seniors with our residents’ favorite selections, ensuring every dish delivers on health as much as it does on flavor,” said Geiser.

A registered dietician signs off on every menu for nutritional value as well as a few extra goodies. Even your favorite restaurant can get old if the menu never changes. At Sonata, you can expect every dish to be delicious, nutritious, and new! Residents look forward to a new menu every four weeks that incorporate:

  • Fresh fall, winter, spring and summer produce…whatever is in season will be on your plate!
  • Immunity-boosting foods such as berries, fruits, and fiber-rich veggies.
  • Heart-healthy options low in saturated fats, sodium and sugar.
  • Superfoods known to improve senior health and nutrition
  • Delicious, award-winning desserts, including cakes, cookies and puddings, yum-yum!
  • An “always available” menu featuring favorite recipes as rated by our residents.
  • Homestyle meals to recreate familiar flavors (think homemade chicken soup)
  • Holiday treats and Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter feasts
  • Birthday cakes and sweets
  • Mocktails and fruit-infused drinks to help older adults stay hydrated
  • Traveling ice cream carts, taco stands, guacamole stations and cooking demonstrations….we’re always cooking up something new!
  • Dementia-friendly finger foods at Serenades Memory Care communities

At Sonata, our restaurant-style dining rooms serve up nutritious, appetizing meals that meet each resident’s needs three times a day. Grab-and-go options and snacks are also available to residents throughout the day and an “Anytime Dining” menu allows residents to dine at their leisure.

Daily choices include freshly prepared soups and salads, sandwiches, heart-healthy legumes and grains, and a huge selection of main dishes, entrées, vegetables, sides,

“Service excellence is our commitment to every resident,” Geiser added. “We’re revamping the perception of dining in senior living by providing our residents with access to food that’s as nourishing as it is delicious. After all, Sonata is more than a place to live—it’s a wellness destination dedicated to helping older adults enjoy every aspect of life, including every meal!”

With its well-rounded approach, Sonata by AgeWell Solvere Living dispels any notion of monotonous meal options in senior communities, replacing it with a dynamic dining experience  that embodies all aspects of healthy aging and longevity! Bon Appétit!

Schedule a visit to Sonata and find out what’s on the menu tonight!

Expect More At Sonata


Visit a Sonata community and find out why putting service first has allowed us to continually raise the bar in senior living and exceed our residents’ expectations.

SCHEDULE VISIT

memory care costs

Understanding Memory Care Costs

Does Memory Care Cost More Than Assisted Living?

While it’s true that memory care costs more than conventional assisted living, the unique person-centered care approach and purpose-built architectural details found in memory care communities offer a better quality of life to older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

For many families, the intrinsic value this specialized type of care brings cannot be put into words. Especially to the families coping with the complexities of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms, memory care communities provide an unprecedented level of reassurance and peace of mind that is simply unattainable in other long-term care settings.

How Much Does Memory Care Cost?

Many family caregivers are surprised to learn that Florida memory care communities only cost around 10% more than regular assisted living communities in Florida. According to DementiaCareCentral.com, an educational resource offered by the National Institute on Aging, the monthly cost of memory care in Florida ranges from $5,000 on the low end to as much as $9,000 in some cities. Surprisingly, memory care costs can vary by as much as 20% from city to city.

The most affordable memory care communities are located in the Tampa and Orlando areas, including Serenades Memory Care purpose-built memory care communities.

Just as each family’s situation is unique, so too are the needs of our loved ones and the care they require – especially those facing challenges associated with memory loss. Memory care facilities like Serenades Memory Care by Sonata are specially designed to address these specific needs, offering an environment that’s not only safe and nurturing, but also tailored to the unique needs of the individual.

Why Memory Care Costs Are Higher Than Assisted Living?

Monthly rent in a memory care community tends to cost slightly more than rent in an assisted living community because residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia require more comprehensive personal care and support from caregivers, which adds to the overall expense of operating the community.

As Alzheimer’s disease or dementia progresses, those affected may become increasingly challenged by activities that were once routine. Over time, brain cells lose the ability to transmit information effectively, leading to the deterioration of memory, thinking, problem-solving, and various other unwanted symptoms and behaviors.

Ultimately, because dementia causes cognitive decline, memory care community residents require more assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, and other daily activities.

In Florida, memory care communities are also required to maintain a special assisted living license that requires caregivers to have more training. Some communities, including Serenades Memory Care, go above and beyond state-mandated training to help caregivers become certified dementia practitioners. This specialized training equips caregivers with a deeper understanding of progressive brain disease and techniques on how to interact and support those with the unpredictable symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

In short, the increased support, security, specialized care and training all contribute to the slightly higher cost of providing memory care services in Florida.

The Value of Specialized Memory Care Assisted Living Communities   Science and research related to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease has been in the news recently, providing families with renewed hope. New innovations in memory care communities can now provide families access to technology and design solutions that vastly improve quality of life and care for their loved ones.

At Serenades Memory Care communities, the residents’ quality of life is at the heart of every decision – from the design of the physical spaces to dining and nutrition to the programs that encourage social interaction, safety, and independence.

Unlike a conventional assisted living community, the unique features of a purpose-built memory care community may include:

  • Care plans and activities that focus on residents’ retained abilities to maximize engagement and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Activities that incorporate residents’ preferences to improve personal connections, independence and emotional well-being.
  • Musical interventions and music therapy to ease negative symptoms and promote cognitive function.

Life enrichment programming, stimulating activities, music and memory therapies, and dementia-friendly dining services—all aspects of brain health are part of the cost equation.   How is Memory Care Different From Traditional Assisted Living?

Memory care communities are specifically tailored to alleviate the negative symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. These communities, including Serenades, go beyond conventional senior care facilities by embracing a unique approach to architecture, care and amenities that help the community look and feel like a traditional family home. The goal is to make the environment more comfortable and familiar to the person with dementia.

Serenades Memory Care embodies this philosophy with a specially designed or “purpose built” environment that reduces overstimulation, prioritizes safety, promotes familiarity, and facilitates easy navigation.

The Advantages of Purpose-Built Memory Care Communities

Every aspect of memory care communities, from architectural nuances to personalized activity-driven programming, is intentionally designed for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Serenades Memory Care at The Villages, Serenades Memory Care at Longwood and Serenades Memory Care at West Orange reimagine the traditional multi-purpose room and replace it with small group spaces and common areas that resemble a cozy living room in the family home. The décor is intentionally soothing and therapeutic, aimed at relaxing and comforting older adults who may become easily agitated. The concept extends to other areas like the dining room, which has been converted to an open, inviting family-style kitchen that leverages the powerful aroma of homestyle cooking to trigger the brain’s connection between hunger and food.

Purpose-built memory care communities like Serenades fulfill the instinctive human need to make personal choices. Despite the confusion and disorientation dementia causes, residents of a memory care community are permitted unrestricted but secure access to indoor and outdoor areas, preserving their sense of freedom and autonomy and supporting their desire to wander.

The strategic design of Serenades Memory Care has at least seven advantages over standard assisted living communities:

  • A more intimate setting to minimize overstimulation
  • Enhanced safety features to safeguard well-being
  • Unrestricted access to an outdoor courtyard to encourage independence
  • Homelike décor, furnishings and amenities to promote familiarity and comfort
  • Visual cues and amber lighting to ease wayfinding and navigation challenges
  • Research-based dining programs to improve nutrition and prevent weight loss
  • Specially trained dementia-certified caregivers

Learn more about The Dementia Diet at Serenades Memory Care and how it affects appetite in the person with progressive brain disease.   Qualifications of Specialized Dementia Caregivers

The complexity of Alzheimer’s and dementia and their effects on the brain and behavior require a nuanced, sophisticated understanding of brain disease to provide a more sensitive, educated, and informed level of care.

The staff at memory care communities such as Serenades Memory Care have received specialized dementia care training to care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. These unique skills may include understanding how to effectively communicate with individuals with severe memory loss or ways to navigate a sudden change in mood. These scenarios are more common in people with dementia and are all part of the specialized training dementia caregivers undergo.

Find out if it’s the right time to move to a memory care community.

Thriving with Memory Loss

At Serenades Memory Care, visual cues provide residents with the confidence to navigate their surroundings, helping them thrive even as dementia causes memory decline. Open floor plans encourage social interaction vital to residents’ overall well-being, and personalized music and memory programming enhance mood and cognition. Innovative safety features encourage residents to use their retained abilities, helping them feel more self-assured. The result is proven to dramatically improve quality of life in a fully supportive environment.

Having a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be a challenging time for any family. Memory care communities like Serenades Memory Care can provide the specialized care your loved one needs while preserving their confidence and dignity. At the end of the journey, some families find it impossible to put a price on the peace of mind afforded by a memory care community.

If you or a loved one have been recently diagnosed, learn the five questions you must ask every memory care community.

To learn more about Serenades Memory Care communities, schedule a visit today.

Expect More At Sonata


Visit a Sonata community and find out why putting service first has allowed us to continually raise the bar in senior living and exceed our residents’ expectations.

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50-hour week

Caregivers and The 50-hour Week

Caregivers and The 50-hour Week

There are some callings that come from the deepest corners of the heart. One of them is caring for an aging parent.

Every year on National Caregiver’s Day we show appreciation to this remarkably resilient group of individuals who selflessly and bravely care for others. It should be every day, really.

Most of us have been called on to show up for others from time to time, but caregivers are known for going above and beyond, and according to new research, at least 10 hours beyond what a typical 9 to 5 job requires!

Caregivers and Work-Life Balance

Of all the jobs we’re given in life, few demand more patience, strength, and apparently, time.

In the constant struggle to balance work and family obligations, most of us have declared, “There’s not enough hours in the day!” For men and women in their 40s and 50s who are overcommitted in more ways than we can count, this rings especially true. Known as the Sandwich Generation, these middle-aged adults are challenged with balancing dual responsibilities of caring for children and elderly parents.

A new research study released by New York Life shines a light on the time commitment they face in this role. According to the study, Sandwich Generation adults spend 22 hours per week providing care for their aging relative and another 28 hours per week providing care for children. In total, around 50 hours each week!

Financial Challenges and Caregivers

The idea that caregiving extends beyond what a typical full-time job requires is only part of the story. Caregiving demands have implications far beyond how many hours there are—or more accurately, how many hours there aren’t—in a day.

The study brought to light the staggering time commitment caregiving requires, but another jarring insight revealed excessive financial strain, too. Turns out nearly half of middle-aged adults were unable to cover daily expenses like rent, groceries, or medical care at certain points during the last year. Record-high inflation, a surge in childcare expenses, and the burden of student loans is creating a substantial dent in the financial health of this generation, which extends to millennials, who now make up a growing part of the “sandwich.”

For younger caregivers, in addition to caregiving, navigating the complexities of financial priorities ranging from starting a family to buying a house often requires them to work more hours at a job or use their personal savings and retirement funds just to get by.

Career Challenges and Caregivers

The role of family caregiver is not easy, even for those able to maintain a career along with their caregiving duties. Many adults in the New York Life study reported having to reduce their hours or even turn down promotions due to the strain of managing both aspects of their lives.

The impact of leaving the workforce—even temporarily—can have a lasting impact, according to AARP.  The loss of income may reduce social security benefits decades down the road. In fact, older caregivers are more likely to retire early due to leaving the workforce to provide care for a family member. This early retirement tends to be more expensive than holding out until age 65 when Medicare coverage typically starts.

Self-Care and Caregivers

If you are a caregiver, you already know caregiving goes beyond finances and time management; it encompasses managing an array of daily tasks from bathing to cooking to chaperoning, and more. In other words, dedicating a huge chunk of time and energy towards the wellbeing of others. The ultimate price is the huge chunk of time and energy that is directed away from yourself.

Most middle-aged adults are busy juggling family commitments and job responsibilities of their own. To regain some semblance of balance, many seek the assistance of a senior living community. Senior living facilities provide personal care and support to seniors in a safe and social environment, freeing up precious time for caregivers who may need to return to work.

A senior living community like Sonata provides support so that caregiving duties can be shared, reducing some of the pressure associated with meeting the needs of both children and aging parents simultaneously. By moving to a senior living community, caregivers are afforded an opportunity to reconnect with their loved ones without stress and time constraints associated with caregiving.

The support offered by an assisted living community also helps prevent caregiver burnout, a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that occurs when a caregiver becomes overwhelmed or overextended.

Caregivers who provide care to a loved one with dementia are more likely to experience extreme emotional and physical exhaustion due to the unique challenges associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms. Due to risk-prone behaviors such as wandering, it’s important to recognize signs that it may be time for help from a memory care community.

Family Caregivers and the Power of Love

There are libraries filled with books that teach us how provide care, but few that solve for the lack of time, energy, and resources many caregivers face.

Despite these challenges, the devotion and dedication of family caregivers is testament to the profound power of love that is permanently woven into familial ties.

There are numerous ways to show appreciation to the caregivers in your life, but the most practical may be offering assistance. Considering the 50-hour work week they endure, it’s apparent that most caregivers could benefit from extra time to themselves. A genuine offer to help, even if it’s just for a short while, can encourage caregivers to take the time they need for a little self-care.

The experience of caring for an aging parent teaches us that amid the challenges and changes the naturally come with age, the human capacity to show love, compassion, and care remains timeless.

At Sonata, caring for seniors and caregivers and helping them live their best life is our passion. Partnering with our resident’s families to provide care makes that possible. Find out how we work as your caregiving partner and schedule a visit today to a Sonata community near you.

Expect More At Sonata


Visit a Sonata community and find out why putting service first has allowed us to continually raise the bar in senior living and exceed our residents’ expectations.

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built-in wellness services

Fall in Love with Convenience: The Beauty of Built-in Wellness Services

Fall in Love with Convenience: The Beauty of Built-in Wellness Services

We’re well into 2024, so where are you with your goals for the new year? If you, like lots of others, wanted to focus on your health and wellness but then found it too inconvenient to consistently follow through, there is a solution. It’s called senior living!

One benefit of choosing a senior living community like Sonata Senior Living is our focus on helping you live a vibrant and active life through wholistic wellness programs. We offer a range of comprehensive health services designed to improve your health and happiness right outside your door.

What are Wellness Services in Senior Living?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults benefit from a range of physical activities that can help them live independently and improve quality of life, while preventing or managing chronic disease. Wellness services in a senior living community often include:

  • Fitness center: Part of any wellness routine is determining your current fitness level and your goals. Senior living communities offer group fitness classes and heart-healthy activities to help you build strength and maintain mobility.
  • Planned social activities: Building and maintaining social connections is an important part of maintaining a high quality of life. Senior living communities feature activity calendars filled with classes, clubs, lectures, games and other social activities.
  • Visiting physicians: For those times when getting to the doctor’s office doesn’t work into your busy schedule, communities like Sonata often have visiting physicians and other health care professionals so you can conveniently get the care you need.
  • Delicious and nutritious meals: Dining is an important part of any wellness program. The culinary teams at senior living communities work with dieticians and nutritionists to create menus focused on meeting a variety of dietary and nutritional needs in a way that still delights your taste buds.
  • In-home care options: Communities often offer services to help you safely age in place while maximizing your independence.
  • Higher levels of on-site care: If you have an unexpected health emergency, many communities conveniently offer higher levels of onsite care so you don’t have to move.

The convenience associated with onsite wellness services should not be overlooked. Improving access to fitness activities, socialization opportunities, and nutritious meals all add up to better health and longevity in senior community residents. In fact, we hear time and time again how Sonata residents fall in love with the convenience of wellness services. 

Wellness Perks of Sonata Senior Living

At Sonata Senior Living, you’ll find a community of friendly, active neighbors who share your goals of living life to the fullest. By choosing a Sonata community in Central or South Florida, you’ll gain access to our Live It Up!℠ program shaped by the International Council on Active Aging’s (ICAA) seven dimensions of wellness, including:

  • Emotional: We offer specific programs to help you remain happy, stress-free and balanced.
  • Intellectual: Engaging in creative pursuits and intellectually stimulating activities is proven to keep minds alert and interested.
  • Physical: We support a wellness focused lifestyle and recommend physical activity and exercise, choosing healthy foods, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and following medical recommendations.
  • Vocational: Activities that take full advantage of your skills while providing personal satisfaction helps bring meaning to life.
  • Social: Our lifestyle program offers a range of resident-driven opportunities to socialize and make new friends both on campus and off.
  • Spiritual: Living with a purpose in life is key to well-being and feeling connected to the larger world.
  • Environmental: By emphasizing natural light, universal design, safety innovations, and outdoor recreation areas, our purpose-built communities enliven and enable an environmentally conscious atmosphere.

Wellness services in senior living help older adults stay active and thrive well into their 80s and beyond. In fact, some studies have shown moving to a senior living community extends life by as much as 10 years! And while we can’t stop age-related changes in the body, a healthier lifestyle can mitigate some age-related decline in cardiovascular function. Specifically, a healthy diet and exercise—both of which you’ll find in senior living—are crucial to reducing our risk of cardiovascular disease. As it turns out, senior living is the heart of healthy aging!

Fall in Love with Sonata Senior Living

An active and engaged retirement lifestyle in a senior living community like Sonata Senior Living also promotes wellness and safety, providing access to essential services and care. Mostly, senior living provides abundant opportunities to meet new people and make new friends, which we call social wellness.

In senior living, it is truly never too late to try something new. Our life enrichment program integrates the latest research in active aging and wellness for seniors and incorporates the most current training tools and resources. We also offer the convenience of visiting physicians, home health therapy and more. Don’t take our word for it. Schedule a visit, but don’t be surprised when you fall in love with senior living!

Discover three important ways that senior living improves quality of life and schedule a visit today to a Sonata community near you.

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Visit a Sonata community and find out why putting service first has allowed us to continually raise the bar in senior living and exceed our residents’ expectations.

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cost of senior living

The Cost of Senior Living and Florida’s Silver Lining

The Cost of Senior Living and Florida’s Silver Lining

When we imagine retirement living in Florida, many of us quite rightly dream of basking in the sunshine and savoring a more relaxed pace of life. But, the reality of the cost of senior living in 2024 can be a touch less warm and fuzzy. Fear not, because in Florida, the old and tired senior “home” mentality simply doesn’t exist. As the leading retirement destination, Florida has long since ripped up the rule book on senior living! Today, the opportunities are as diverse as Floridians themselves, offering a myriad of vibrant lifestyle options and price points to explore!

In the Sunshine State, there’s no room for a one-dimensional approach to senior living. Senior living costs hinge on factors as unique as your fingerprints—location, community type, floor plan, design, technology, services, and care offerings. Truth be told, the journey to understanding senior living in Florida starts with exploring the gamut of care options and contracts that senior living communities offer.

Understanding Levels of Care in Senior Living

To understand the cost of senior living in 2024, you must first understand what levels of care are offered in senior living. Senior living communities define these levels according to the amount of assistance a person will require as they age.

Essentially, senior living communities have three categories of care:

  • Fully Independent – For seniors who can handle daily chore and activities without any support or assistance. Independent seniors can qualify for independent living.
  • Moderate Assistance – A helping hand for those who require help with daily activities, like bathing and dressing. This group typically qualifies for assisted living.
  • Complete Assistance – Seniors in this category require a caregiver for most daily tasks. Housing options here are typically skilled nursing facilities.

Independent living is most popular among seniors who prefer a maintenance-free lifestyle, unencumbered by the responsibilities of homeownership, yet don’t require any health care services. Assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities are designed for older adults who require higher levels of support.

For those who are not sure which category they fit into, a home safety and wellness assessment can be requested by a senior care community and conducted in the comfort of the family home. The goal is to help determine which care level and type of community is best suited to the individual.

Understanding The Costs Behind Senior Living

So, what does this have to do with pricing? In short, the “sticker price” of senior living in Florida invariably falls on a spectrum. That’s because there are a lot of factors that go into pricing independent living and assisted living.

Independent living doesn’t include professional care or health services, so it generally costs less than assisted living. However, some upscale independent living communities far exceed what could be deemed “affordable” due to the cost of providing luxury amenities.

Factors like structure, operational costs, staff salaries, taxes, and insurance also influence the price of senior living. New communities are often priced higher due to the current high costs of construction and technology. Home sharing or roommate arrangements can make senior living more affordable.

In Florida, new and innovative senior living models and pricing structures are growing faster than Florida oranges. It all boils (or peels in our case) down to the kind of life you seek and which community type best meets your financial needs.

Independent Living Contracts and Costs

As you explore the cost of senior living, pay attention to the various contract types at independent living communities and the tiered costs at assisted living communities, where enhanced services will naturally increase the price.

In Florida, there are at least three independent living contracts to choose from. These include:

  • Entrance Fee or Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) – A large, upfront fee is paid upon moving in as well as a monthly service fee for rent, meals, and other services. Independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing are all offered under one roof (or campus) and continuing care levels are often locked in at a discounted rate.
  • Independent Living Communities – With no large, upfront fee, seniors typically pay a modest community fee to move in and a monthly service fee (or rent), which includes your apartment, meals, and services, as well as access to community amenities, activities, life enrichment programming, and more.
  • Senior or 55+ Apartments – These age-restricted communities offer private residents or apartments for sale or rent, but typically charge a monthly HOA fee for landscaping and community amenities. Health care is typically not part of the package.

In the diverse Florida landscape of senior living, monthly costs span from $2,000 on the low end to a more opulent $10,000 or more at the ultra-luxury independent living communities.

Navigating so many senior housing options might seem like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, but each piece holds its unique allure and advantages. In the end, the optimal solution weaves together the cost, comfort, and lifestyle that best meet your personal needs and preferences.

Assisted Living Costs and Considerations

As you’d expect, senior living costs are higher at communities that include health care services.

With licensing requirements varying by state, both small group homes and large multi-service facilities qualify as an “assisted living facility.” However, be prepared for an even wider spectrum in pricing due to disparities in licensure and facility types.

A rainbow of payment structures is on offer here. Floridians choose from convenient all-inclusive models in assisted living to tiered pricing structures, where fees are decided by required levels of care or services. The a la carte model is true to its name; you pay only for the services you need.

Unequivocally, the all-inclusive model is the Floridian favorite. They bundle rent and essential services into a flat, single monthly expense, eliminating the need to sieve through a smorgasbord of services.

Different types of assisted living contracts or models include:

  • All-inclusive model – Rent, meals, care, and other services are included in one monthly fee. Sometimes all-inclusive rental models charge extra for higher levels of care.
  • Levels of care model – Costs are based on the level of care needed and most communities will offer 3-4 service group tiers.
  • Fee for service model – You’re charged a flat monthly fee for rent and meals, with additional services billed separately. Also known asà la carte

In Florida, assisted living apartments start around $3,000 a month on the low end of the spectrum and can approach $10,000 or more at luxury communities.

A Silver Living in The Sunshine State

The waves of new residents flocking to Florida have contributed to a rise in the cost of living. But here’s the silver lining: Florida remains a comparatively affordable place to retire.

How affordable? According to The Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the estimated median monthly cost of assisted living in Florida for 2024 is $4,371, falling below the national average of $4,917. Plus, Florida remains one of the more affordable retirement destinations, boasting a middle of the road cost point for long-term care that remains far below most of the Northeast United States.

If you are comparing costs for various types of senior living options, The Genworth Cost of Care Tool can help you calculate costs by zip code. Using this tool, we found Florida’s median monthly cost for assisted living falls below Pennsylvania at $4,480 and Virginia at $5,737, but nowhere near New Hampshire at $6,614 or New Jersey at $7,097.

All things considered, Florida is a great value for retirees looking for affordable senior living.

How To Pay For Assisted Living in Florida

Whether you live in Florida or New England, paying for assisted living can still be a concern. Relief comes in knowing that most people use an array of resources, including pensions, life insurance, savings, and real estate.

While Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living, it does provide benefits for short-term stays in Medicare-certified skilled nursing facilities for qualifying individuals. Keep in mind, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities offer different levels of care.

To fund senior living, selling one’s home is a popular choice, especially with Florida’s real estate values skyrocketing in recent years.

The top financial resources seniors use to pay for senior living include:

  • Social security benefits
  • Pensions
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Financial assets such as IRAs, 401Ks, CDs
  • Personal savings
  • Life insurance policies or life settlements
  • Veterans benefits such as the US Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension
  • Real estate funds
  • Co-housing or home shares

How you decide to fund senior living is a personal decision. Always consult your tax advisor while making financial decisions related to senior living. They can help you determine which resources make the most financial sense for you and your family.

Finding Value Despite the Cost of Senior Living

No matter the cost or how you decide to pay for it, the most valuable aspect of senior living lies in the vibrant lifestyle it offers. Communities like Sonata Senior Living serve up an endless array of life enriching activities that breathe life and vigor into our retirement years. Along with access to essential health care services, seniors thrive in a safe and supportive environment while discovering new interests, hobbies, and friendships.

Here is a snapshot of the life-enhancing opportunities included in the cost of senior living:

  • Life enrichment classes
  • Workshops and seminars, i.e. lifelong learning
  • Arts and crafts
  • Fitness classes
  • Social activities
  • Special events and outings
  • Entertainment
  • Friendship groups or clubs, i.e. book or gardening clubs
  • Spiritual events

Deciding on a senior living community shouldn’t be a game of numbers alone. Placing all your focus on price may shadow the inherent value of senior living and peace of mind it affords so many families. For this reason, it’s important to visit communities in person to experience what senior living can truly offer.

Touring senior living communities is a wonderful way to visualize yourself engaged in the enriching experiences that await you in retirement. Don’t forget to bring along these 15 important questions you should ask on a community tour.

To learn how affordable senior living can be at Sonata Senior Living, schedule a visit to a community near you.

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affordable senior housing

Charting a Course To Affordable Senior Housing in the Sunshine State

Charting a Course To Affordable Senior Housing in the Sunshine State

As the renowned novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald wisely observed, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Most likely he was not talking about affordable senior living when he said this, but the proverb hints at the inevitable transformation we all experience as we mature.

Indeed, retirement is the ideal time to reinvent ourselves, but today it’s accompanied by a considerably heftier price tag. Costs have risen at a pace not seen in nearly 40 years and an increasing number of older adults are reimaging their “crisp fall” retirement plans while grappling with the concept of affordable senior housing. Such financial uncertainty is especially worrisome to those who need senior housing with long-term care.

Affordable Senior Housing in Florida

Current mortgage rates, peaking at a staggering 23-year high, spell trouble for retirees aiming to invest in a Florida home, even those planning to downsize. A historical surge in hurricane activity has forced many insurances providers to flee the state, inflating insurance costs. An influx of “snowbirds” during the pandemic has driven up the cost of real estate, and according to a recent CNN report, the cost of health care has become too large of a burden on most seniors’ wallets.

For those in search of affordable senior housing, it all starts to add up.

Nevertheless, the allure of the Sunshine State persists. Due to Florida’s population growth and popularity, the median single family home price in Florida is now $413,000, with condos at a median value of $330,000 – a marked 7% increase since 2022!

Thanks to recent interest rate hikes, the typical monthly installment on a 30-year mortgage now rounds up to approximately $2,800. After factoring in additional expenses like insurance, taxes, and utilities, the realistic monthly cost of owning a home in Florida today exceeds $4,000!

In comparison, the average rent in an independent living community is roughly $3,500, rendering it a more economical alternative to homeownership in the current Florida real estate climate.

Finding Affordable Senior Apartments

Affordable senior housing remains a relative concept. What’s affordable for one might be a financial burden for another. Ideally, housing costs should not exceed 30% of an individual’s income to qualify as “affordable,” at least according to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Yet everyone’s affordability and income vary, hence the dilemma.

Government institutions provide financial resources to eligible individuals for housing, although not every senior home accepts Medicaid assistance. This results in extensive waitlists for low-income senior apartments, making it more challenging for some to find adequate housing.

New Florida legislation hopes to alleviate the housing crisis by building more affordable homes, but it could be years before Florida sees any real impact.

The cost of living in Florida has also peaked, impacted by rising insurance rates, homeowners association fees, property taxes, and hurricane protection. Today, Florida ranks 30th in the country for cost of living and one percent above the national average. Even the cost of groceries has inflated about 4 percent since 2022.

Given escalating costs and inflation, homeownership’s unpredictability makes senior living communities an attractive option for seniors managing housing expenses on a fixed income.

Living on a Budget in Florida

The mounting costs of home ownership can be overwhelming, encouraging seniors to explore the benefits of renting at a retirement community as a solution for financial stability.

When evaluating the pros and cons of renting over buying, a cost comparison analysis can be a powerful tool in guiding your decision. Financial advisors suggest using a worksheet that itemizes every expense associated with homeownership, which typically include:

  • Rent/mortgage payments
  • Property taxes
  • Association fees
  • Home maintenance fees
  • Landscaping
  • Housekeeping
  • Groceries
  • Electric
  • Heating and cooling
  • Water and sewer
  • Trash and garbage removal
  • Cable
  • Wi-Fi/Internet
  • Auto insurance and gas

After tallying all the homeowner expenses, many seniors are amazed to find that these costs approximately equal and often exceed the costs of assisted living.

The value of renting in retirement is even more compelling in today’s economy. When you compare the real costs of home ownership with the cost of assisted living in Florida, you may decide an assisted living community offers more value for your dollar.

The Merits of All-Inclusive Senior Living

With Florida’s escalating homeownership costs proving challenging for more seniors to afford, many are exploring all-inclusive rental contracts at senior living communities to merge living expenses into a single, predictable monthly fee.

All-inclusive retirement communities can afford significant savings and provide value to seniors managing a budget. Sonata Senior Living, for instance, combines rent and utilities with additional services such as housekeeping, laundry, and transportation.

Monthly rent in an all-inclusive rental retirement community also provides access to chef-prepared meals, 24-hour security, fitness classes, and an array of social events and life enrichment activities. With emphasis on healthy aging, lifestyle amenities also extend to multiple dining venues, transportation services for various errands, and a plethora of entertainment options, helping older adults thrive in their retirement years.

All the things seniors need for a comfortable retirement lifestyle, and many perks they didn’t know they needed but would love to have—are bundled into a single, predictable, monthly rent at Sonata Senior Living.

Keep in mind, no two communities are alike, so it’s a good idea to read every detail of your lease agreement before moving in.

Learn three fundamental ways senior living at Sonata improves quality of life for older adults.

Affordable Senior Living Apartments in South Florida

Despite a 3.2% increase in the 2024 Social Security retirement benefit, seniors remain vulnerable to rising housing costs in Florida. And if interest rates persist above 6%, homeownership will remain out of reach for many retirees.

At an average cost of around $3,500 a month, a private apartment at a senior living community might seem unattainable for some, too. A few South Florida assisted living communities offer a companion studio floor plan as a more economical option.

Creative Cohabitating and Economic Retirement Living

Sonata Coconut Creek, Sonata Delray Beach, Sonata Boynton Beach, and Sonata Hunter’s Creek assisted living communities offer affordable floor plan options that start below $3,000 a month. Companion suites provide seniors with housing they can afford, access to lifestyle amenities and life enrichment activities, and the fundamental personal care and assistance you’d expect from an assisted living community.

Discover Sonata Senior Living communities with rent starting below $3,000 a month:

If you’ve already undertaken a cost comparison of senior living in Florida, you’ll find that many communities offer similar services and care options with completely different pricing structures. What falls within your budget, may not be feasible for others.

The wisest strategy is to research extensively before making a move. The choice is yours, and your best bet is to explore in person. Compile a prioritized list of what you currently require from a senior living community and future needs and have it handy as you tour the communities near you. You’ll never know which one is right for you unless you visit in person!

To learn how affordable senior living can be at Sonata Senior Living, schedule a visit to a community near you.

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Visit a Sonata community and find out why putting service first has allowed us to continually raise the bar in senior living and exceed our residents’ expectations.

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Travel With Alzheimer's

Holiday Travel With Alzheimer's Disease: Six Tips For Caregivers

How To Travel With Alzheimer's Disease

 

Embarking on a journey during the holiday season can be a stressful experience, especially when you’re traveling with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

As a caregiver, your top priority is ensuring the safety of your loved one while planning a trip that promises a positive and joyful experience for your entire family. But even in the best of circumstances, holiday travel is chaotic. Crowded airports, delayed flights, and traffic congestion all contribute to sensory overload in the person with Alzheimer’s.

Holiday travel with a loved one who has dementia also presents unique challenges. To help you navigate this complex situation, the professional caregivers at Serenades Memory Care have compiled six expert strategies to help ease travel anxiety associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Plan For the Unknown

If you are planning a trip, it’s important to prepare yourself for the possibility of unforeseen circumstances and to remain patient and flexible when they do arise. Be sure to make all your travel reservations in advance and create a contingency plan that allows you to leave early if your loved one gets sick or overwhelmed.

Before setting off on your trip, take time to thoughtfully plan each step of your journey while making your loved one’s needs a priority. This may mean making time for frequent stops and bathroom breaks. Familiarity reduces anxiety, confusion, and disorientation commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease, so avoid activities and situations that cause your loved one added anxiety. Additionally, ensure that your final destination offers a calm and quiet environment to minimize sensory stimulation.

  1. Maintain Routine and Structure

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease thrive on routine and structure. To minimize stress, make an effort to honor your loved one’s regular activities and routine as much as possible throughout your trip. This includes maintaining continuity in their daily schedule, such as eating at the same time they normally would, and ensuring they have ample rest and sleep. Sticking to a routine can help prevent unwanted symptoms and behaviors associated with dementia.

  1. Pack Important Documents

While it’s tempting to procrastinate packing, when traveling with Alzheimer’s disease, take the time to organize essential travel items early to reduce anxiety. Compile a comprehensive medical file containing important documents such as identification, medical records, emergency contacts, and a list of prescribed medications with dosages and timings. Remember to bring an adequate supply of medication for the entire trip as well as a few extra days in case of any delays. Finally, be sure to have a backup plan for obtaining refills at your travel destination.

  1. Pack a Nightlight

Assisted living memory care communities like Serenades Memory Care feature special lighting and visual cues to help those with Alzheimer’s and dementia find their way easier. It is one of many architectural features used by “purpose-built” memory care communities to assist with wayfinding and regulate mood.

Traveling with a nightlight is a great solution for lighting dark rooms and hotels, and can help your loved one with Alzheimer’s navigate their way to the toilet, reducing the possibility of falls. The best ones have LED lights and motion sensors. Remember to avoid candles, as they can pose a safety hazard.

  1. Wear Identification

Wandering is a common symptom among individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease. While manageable at home, this common symptom adds an extra layer of worry and travel anxiety when you’re on the move. Be sure to carry a photo of your loved one in case they become separated from you and consider ordering a medical ID device for added support and protection. Wearable devices are available online or through the Alzheimer’s Association.

Learn more about MedicAlert devices, including bracelets, necklaces and other accessories.

  1. Minimize Travel Time

 Reducing travel time is always a wise choice, though it may not always be easy. If your budget allows, opt for direct flights to alleviate stress associated with connecting flights and multiple changes. Road trips and long hours in a car can be uncomfortable for individuals with and without dementia, but air travel can be particularly challenging due to flight times, security checks, and airport noise. Some airports have been designated as dementia-friendly, offering special lanyards to discreetly identify those in need of extra help or special treatment during travel.

A group called Dementia-Friendly Airports Working Group has introduced recommendations to improve security screening and create a designation for airports that feature special protocols aimed at improving travel assistance to people with hidden disabilities like Alzheimer’s disease.

Planning Travel With Alzheimer’s Disease

In some cases, it may be best to avoid airline travel completely. It goes without saying, the more advanced the disease, the more challenging travel will be for you and your loved one. Dementia care experts recommend avoiding overnight travel for those experiencing more advanced symptoms.

Remember, it’s natural to feel a sense of loss during the holidays when a loved one is struggling with memory loss. This holiday season may be different, but staying focused on the positive moments can help you create a meaningful and enjoyable holiday season.

Travel with Alzheimer’s: Resources and Support For Alzheimer’s Disease

If you’re seeking additional support and resources for Alzheimer’s care, consider reaching out to an assisted living memory care community like Serenades Memory Care. Memory care communities provide care in a safe and supportive environment, offering 24-hour supervision by dementia-certified caregivers. Plus, fall and winter are often the best time to move to an assisted living community.

Remember that as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the level of care your loved one requires may exceed what can be provided at home and prevent future travel. Memory care communities can help you recognize the signs of caregiver burnout and provide the support you need. With the right resources and care, your loved one can continue to lead a fulfilling and dignified life.

Schedule a visit to a Serenades Memory Care community to learn more.

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The Pros and Cons of a Senior Home Share

The Pros and Cons of a Senior Home Share

 

These days there are more senior living options in Florida than you can imagine, and some creative home sharing arrangements are making a surprising comeback.

Perhaps it’s true, everything old is new again. You may remember “The Golden Girls,” a popular sitcom from the 1980s that captured the hearts of many. Not only were the “girls” wildly entertaining, but they also taught us a valuable lesson about the significance of maintaining a social life well into our senior years.

A living arrangement that has been gaining in popularity in recent years, this kind of senior home sharing enjoyed by the Golden Girls presents a unique solution to older adults facing the challenges of inflation and rising costs. However, it’s not without its drawbacks. In fact, what home sharing offers in cost savings, it lacks in perks and peace of mind associated with traditional Florida senior living communities.

In short, if you are considering a senior home share, be sure to read up on the pros and cons of co-housing for seniors before you sign a lease!

What Is A Senior Home Share?

Home sharing may look and feel eerily reminiscent of the co-housing arrangement many of us experienced as a young adult or college roommate. Yet, the uniqueness of a senior home share lies in the shared experience of older adults who have reached a similar stage of life. It’s often viewed as an opportunity to create meaningful connections and form lasting friendships with individuals who understand the challenges and joys that come with aging. In a senior home share, roommates can reminisce about their past experiences while navigating the present together, fostering a sense of camaraderie and support that is truly special.

Many older adults are choosing a home share living arrangement primarily to pool resources and responsibilities. Each housemate typically has their own private space, such as a bedroom, while common areas are shared, including the kitchen, living room, and outdoor spaces.

According to Mary Gilbank-Peterson, founder of the National Shared Housing Resource Center, a senior home share allows seniors to age in a home-like setting while providing companionship, support, and cost-sharing opportunities. Seniors maintain their independence while also benefiting from reduced expenses and the emotional support that comes from living with others in a similar stage of life. As an alternative option to senior care homes, home sharing is another way to combat loneliness and social isolation.

Cutting Down Costs and Chores

Home sharing is also good for cutting down on costs and chores. According to an article by AARP, intergenerational home shares often help older adults age in place while removing the burden of home maintenance duties. For example, a homeowner may offer space in their home in exchange for help with household activities like changing the light bulbs or sweeping the floors.

But for those seeking a housemate, it can be difficult to know who you’ll be compatible with. That’s where online roommate matching comes in. Online matching services make finding a housemate easier. Services offered through homesharing platforms Silvernest and Home Match connect those both willing to share a home and those in search of one. It’s a win-win situation for some.

For others, a senior home share may not be enough.

 Home Sharing vs. Senior Living Communities

Like ridesharing or coworking spaces, home sharing can be an effective cost-cutting strategy, but it’s not ideal for aging adults who may need personal care and support. Many older adults will eventually require some level of care and assistance, and an assisted living community is better equipped to meet the evolving long-term care needs of older adults.

Sonata Senior Living assisted living communities are staffed by professional caregivers who are available around the clock to provide assistance with activities of daily living, medication management, and health care monitoring. This type of senior care community is designed to provide a safe and supportive environment where older adults benefit from care and wellness services while still having access to daily social activities and life enrichment programming. It’s like the Golden Girls, but safer.

The Role of Professional Caregivers

While a senior home share can be an appealing option for some, it falls short of the professional caregiving infrastructure that is essential for older adults with personal care needs. Moving to an assisted living community ensures that the necessary care and support are readily available, providing peace of mind for both seniors and their families.

For the ultimate in convenience, communities such as Sonata East at Viera and Sonata Lake Mary offer a continuum of lifestyles on site, welcoming older adults to move in while they are independent and later transition to higher levels of care if and when they need it.

In short, assisted living communities are a better living arrangement for those who need personal care and assistance managing a long-term health condition or disability.

Learn six ways assisted living helps older adults with disabilities.

Home Sharing For Companionship

The hilarious banter between Golden Girls Blanche Devereaux and Rose Nylund underscore the beauty of supporting friends through ups and downs later in life and the health benefits of socialization are well documented in the research. In fact, senior living communities have known about and tapped into the positive aspects of maintaining a social life for decades!

In senior living communities, residents enjoy all the positive aspects of having an active social life, but with added safety and support. By design, senior communities come with a built-in, expansive network of social supports, including friends, neighbors, caregivers, dining, cleaning and maintenance staff, lifestyle directors, and administrators. At Sonata Senior Living, in addition to a full and dedicated staff, a concierge is available to provide assistance whenever it’s needed.

Among the many services, amenities and perks, it’s the social fitness aspect of senior living that is directly correlated to healthy aging, and the reason for the laugh track bestowed by Golden Girl besties.

Choosing a Senior Living Community for Peace of Mind

The 1980s marked a different era, and while senior home sharing may offer companionship and affordability, it can’t compare to the multitude of services and amenities, care and security found in modern senior living communities today.

When it comes to a well-rounded living arrangement, a senior living community ticks all the boxes. Fitness and heart-healthy activities? Check. Senior nutrition? Check. Wellness services? Check. Safety? Double check! Most importantly, a senior living community is the best way to access essential care while improving your social life. It’s why a significant number of older adults in Florida choose the worry-free lifestyle provided by a senior living community like Sonata.

To learn more about personal care support at an assisted living community, schedule a visit
to a Sonata Senior Living community near you.

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Visit Sonata Senior Living and find out how personalized programming in assisted living promotes independence and well-being.

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